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Department of Pharmacology, GIET School of Pharmacy, Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, India. Email- ramachandran@giet.ac.in Received: 12 November 2018, Revised and Accepted: 02 January 2019


Objective: This work was aimed to investigate the prophylactic and therapeutic role of Indian shrimp in aluminum chloride-induced Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in rats.

Methods: The male Wistar rats were selected and divided into six groups. Group I received distilled water, Group II received AlCl3 (100 mg/kg, p.o.), Group III received rivastigmine (1 mg/kg, p.o.), Group IV received AlCl3 + shrimp powder (200 mg/kg, p.o), and Group V received AlCl3 + shrimp powder (400 mg/kg, p.o) for 60 days. At the end of the study, various parameters such as behavioral and biochemical investigations were assessed. Results: The result of the study shows that the shrimp (400 mg/kg) has better effect on the treatment of aluminum chloride-induced AD in rats. It showed a remarkable improvement in the behavioral and biochemical parameters, and the result of histopathology study shows that the hippocampus region of brain tissue recovered as compared with control.

Conclusion: From this study, it is evident that dietary intake of shrimp can help to inhibit oxidative stress produced due to the accumulation of AlCl3 in the brain and used as a prophylactic for AD.

Keywords: Indian shrimp, Aluminum chloride, Alzheimer’s,Rivastigmine.


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder [1] which is known to produce dementia and behavioral deterioration. The early symptom is the short-term memory loss as the disease progresses more severe problems occurs such as language disorientation [2], mood swing, and behavioral issues if it is untreated gradually, the bodily functions are lost ultimately, leading to death. Accumulation of neurotoxic amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers intracellular and extracellular found in the brain of Alzheimer’s [3]. Oxidative stress and neuroinflammation induce AD due to excessive deposition of Aβ. The brains of the Alzheimer’s may be characterized by neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques and also loss of cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain. Till date, there is no recognizable cure available for AD, also the cause and the factors that underlie the progression [4-6].

Aluminum is the most abundant and found to be neurotoxicant, is believed to be involved in the etiology of Alzheimer’s due to its easy admittance and it leads to accumulation in the central nervous system. In the brain, aluminum gets accumulated in the areas such as hippocampus and frontal cortex and considered as a potential causative factor for the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. Aluminum-induced neurodegeneration results in cognitive dysfunction and has been associated with elevated amyloid precursor protein, Aβ deposition, impaired apoptotic neuronal death, cholinergic projections, and phosphorylated tau over expression, which is also seen in AD patients. Aluminum-induced cognitive deficit has been widely used for the preclinical testing of promising molecules against AD [7,8].

Consuming one seafood meal once a week can protect the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Studies have been reported that Aβ-induced neurodegeneration can be protected by unsaturated fatty acids. Increased evidence suggests that selenium can attenuate the effect of aluminum on brain and some studies emphasis that selenium-rich diets can be beneficial in the treatment of aluminum toxicity [9,10]. Based on this evidence, we carried out the present study to explore the molecular

changes, behavioral, and biochemical changes induced by AlCl3 in rat brains.


The experiment was carried out after the approval from the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee, GIET School of Pharmacy, Andhra Pradesh, India (CPCSEA Reg No-1069/PO/ac/07/CPCSEA). Male albino Wistar rats weighing 150–200 g, of about 6–8 weeks of age, were obtained from the animal house of the GIET School of Pharmacy, Andhra Pradesh, India. The animals were acclimatized for 2 weeks in the laboratory conditions before the experiment. During this period of acclimatization, animals were housed in standard laboratory conditions with temperature 21 ± 2°C and relative humidity 50–60% and lighting conditions with 12 h light/dark cycle with provision of separating fecal matter and urines. Standard pellet diet and water ad libitum were provided to rats throughout the experiment.

Chemicals and drugs

AlCl3 were obtained from the Department of Pharma Chemistry, GIET School of Pharmacy, Andhra Pradesh, India, and the rivastigmine and other reagents were obtained from Sigma-Aldrich, India.

Preparation of shrimp powder

Shrimps were purchased from rural market of Korangi, Andhra Pradesh, in April. Shrimps were dried in the sunlight and grounded into fine powder. The powder obtained was used for the experiment.

Experimental design [11]

AD was induced using AlCl3. Rivastigmine was used as the standard drug for the treatment of AD. The doses of the shrimp treatment groups were fixed based on the selenium content in the shrimp. The animals were classified into six groups of six animals each and received the following treatments for 60 consecutive days:

• Group I: Distilled water (control),

• Group II: AlCl3 100 mg/kg, p.o. (for inducing AD)

© 2019 The Authors. Published by Innovare Academic Sciences Pvt Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/4. 0/) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22159/ajpcr.2019.v12i3.30720


• Group III: AlCl3 100 mg/kg, p.o + rivastigmine 1 mg/kg, p.o.

• Group IV: AlCl3 100 mg/kg, p.o + shrimp powder 200 mg/kg, p.o.

• Group V: AlCl3 100 mg/kg, p.o + shrimp powder 400 mg/kg, p.o.

At the end of experimental period, the animal’s behavioral parameters were observed after that the rats were euthanized using diethyl ether and the brain is removed for the biochemical and histopathological observations.

Assessment of behavioral parameters

Morris water maze test

Memory and learning capacity of the rats were studied by Morris water maze test. A circular pool of 120 cm diameter × 60 cm height with floor painted with black color was fabricated and filled with clean and clear water. A hidden circular platform of 10 cm diameter, 2 cm below the water surface was located in the pool away from the walls of the pool. The pool was divided into four equal quadrants with the starting position, respectively. The position of the platform was kept constant in every quadrant during experiment. The animals were trained for four consecutive trials with 5 min time gap. The rats were placed in the water pool between the quadrants gently by facing the wall of the pool; the location of drop was changed for each trial. The time taken by the rats to locate the platform was noted in seconds. Later, the rats were left on the platform for 20 s. If the rats fail to reach platform within stipulated time of 120 s, then the rats were guided to reach the platform and allowed to stay for 20 s. Experiments were done for every 15 days up to 60 days [12].

Radial arm maze test

The maze of central octagonal arena with eight radial arms was fabricated with a dimension of central arena with a diameter of 34 cm was prepared with floor varnished plywood and walls 24 cm height made up of acrylic sheet. The arms of the maze were of length 86 cm and width of 10 cm, constructed. A food storage well size of 2 cm in diameter and 0.5 cm depth was made and food pellets were placed and located 2 cm away from the end of each arm. Pretraining was given to the animals before start of the experiments. On the 1st day, each animal was released from the center of the radial maze facing the baited arm and left to explore the radial maze, no records were maintained in the trial. On day 2, 3, and 4 also, the rats were released from the center of the maze facing the baited arm to find the food within maximum 6 min. The time taken to find the food was recorded. A number of right and wrong entry into the arms were also recorded. Each entry into unbaited arms was considered as a reference memory errors. Reentries into baited arms were considered as working memory errors [13].

Locomotor activity

Each animal was tested separately for movement using an actophotometer (INCO, Ambala) for the evaluation of the drugs. After 3 min of trial movement, the final movement of each rat was recorded for 10 min. The movements of each rat were recorded in the given time period and recorded in terms of total photo beam counts [14].

Study of biochemical parameters

Brain homogenate preparation

The rats were sacrificed under ether anesthesia and the brain samples were quickly separated, hippocampus and frontal cortex were dissected and perfused with cold saline, and it was weighed. 10% w/v brain homogenate was prepared in 0.1 M cold phosphate buffer of pH 7.4 using a homogenizer (REMI Laboratory Instruments). The homogenated tissue was centrifuged using ultracentrifuge (REMI Laboratory Instruments) at 12000 rpm for 20 min, 4°C, which was used for further biochemical analysis [15].

Estimation of acetylcholinesterase (AchE) activity

The extent of the loss of cholinergic neurons in the forebrain can be confirmed by the level of Ach. The AchE activity was carried out using

Ellman’s method. The sample to be assayed consists of a mixture of 0.05 ml of supernatant brain homogenate, 3 ml of sodium phosphate buffer with pH 8, 0.1 ml of acetylthiocholine iodide, and 0.1 ml of DTNB (Ellman reagent). For 2 min at 30 s interval at 412 nm, the change in absorbance was measured using UV-VIS spectrophotometer (Perkin Elmer Lambda 20). The results were represented as micromoles of acetylthiocholine iodide hydrolyzed per min per mg protein [16].

Estimation of lipid peroxidation

Lipid peroxidation level can be assessed by the malondialdehyde (MDA) content and assayed using thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARSs). The reacting substances consist of 0.2 ml of PMS (10% w/v). The sample volume was made up to 4 ml using distilled water and heated up to 95°C for 1 h. Later, it was left for cooling in tap water, 1 ml of distilled water and 5 ml mixture of n-butanol and pyridine (15:1 v/v) were added to the sample and shaken well and centrifuged to separate the organic layer, and the absorbance of the sample was recorded at 532 nm in UV-visible spectrophotometer UV 2600 (Shimadzu Scientific Instruments). TBARSs were analyzed using extinction coefficient of 1.56 × 105 M-1 cm−1 and expressed as nanomoles of MDA/mg protein and as percentage of control [17].

Estimation of antioxidant effect

Reduced glutathione (GSH)

Ellman’s method was used to measure the reduced GSH levels. The development of yellow color was due to the reduction reaction produced by Ellman’s reagent with –SH group of GSH and it was analyzed at a wavelength of 412 nm. The –SH functional group was estimated by the molar extinction coefficient of yellow-colored anion, 2-nitro mercaptobenzoic acid (1.36 × 103 M−1 cm−1). The results were marked as μmol of GSH/mg protein. The primary determinant of cellular redox state and redox ratio (GSH/GSSG) was determined by the total GSH levels. From the obtained values of total GSH and reduced GSH, the levels of oxidized GSSG were calculated. The redox status can be calculated by the ratio of GSH/GSSG [18].

Estimation of catalase (CAT)

Colorimetric method was used to estimate the CAT level. 1.0 ml phosphate buffer (pH 7.0), 0.1 ml of tissue homogenate (supernatant), and 0.4 ml of 0.2 M H2O2 were taken as the reaction mixture. The reaction was stopped by addition of 2.0 ml of dichromate-acetic acid reagent. Color intensity was calculated by colorimetric method at a wavelength of 620 nm and CAT activity was expressed as micromoles of H2O2 consumed/min/mg protein [19].

Estimation of superoxide dismutase (SOD)

The SOD level was estimated using the method suggested by Kono. The method of assay was carried out using 0.1 mM EDTA, 50 mM of sodium carbonate, and 96 mM of nitro blue tetrazolium. 2 ml of the above reaction mixture was taken in a cuvette and to that 0.05 ml of hydroxylamine and 0.05 ml of PMS were added and allowed to undergo oxidation of hydroxylamine, and the absorbance was recorded at a wavelength of 560 nm using UV-visible spectrophotometer [20].

Histological examination


Statistical analysis

Statistical analysis were carried out using Microsoft Excel (Redmond, WA) and SPSS (Armonk, NY) (version 16). The final values were interpreted as mean ± SEM. ANOVA was carried out by Dunnett’s t-test. The values of p<0.05 were taken as statistically significant.


The results indicated that the administration of AlCl3 induced dementia in experimental rats and the biochemical changes occurred in rats resembled like AD produced in humans. The neuroprotective effect of the shrimp was evaluated by analyzing the behavioral, biochemical, and histopathological parameters and their results were shown below.

Morris water maze test

AlCl3 administered animal groups exhibited an increase (p<0.01) in latency period to reach the platform when compared to normal control group of animals. The standard drug rivastigmine shows a decrease (p<0.05) in latency time when compared to the AlCl3 group and the treatment groups shrimp 200 mg exhibited decrease (p<0.05), shrimp 400 mg more significantly decreased (p<0.01) the latency period when compared with AlCl3 group and found to be reversed the spatial memory deficit caused by AlCl3 group (Fig. 1).

Radial arm maze test

The radial maze test was carried out to analyze the spatial, reference, and working memory assessments. The control group animal finished the task by entering the baited arms correctly. The AlCl3-induced groups were full of anxiety took long time and produced wrong entries (p<0.01) when compared with control group animals. The standard drug rivastigmine as standard drug shows an increased (p<0.05) correct entries as compared to AlCl3 group. The treatment group also shows a significant increase in correct entries shrimp 200 mg (p<0.05) and shrimp 400 mg (p<0.01), which shows a significant restore of spatial memory of the treatment group (Fig. 2a).

The reference memory was assessed by the number of entry into the unbaited arms. The control group has a decrease in the unbaited arms and the AlCl3 group has anxiety decrease in the movement and increase in wrong entry into unbaited arms (p<0.01). The rivastigmine a standard drug having less entry in unbaited arms and the treatment group with low concentration shrimp 200 mg do not have a significant improve in reference memory and high concentration shrimp 400 mg showed a significant improve (p<0.01) as compared to AlCl3 group (Fig. 2b).

The working memory was assessed by the reentry of rat into the baited arms. The control group has decrease reentry into the baited arms. The AlCl3 groups animal has decrease in movement and has marginal reentry in the baited arms (p<0.01) as compared to control group. The rivastigmine also shows few reentries into the baited arms and no improvement in the working memory. The shrimp 200 mg has less effect

on working memory, and the significant decrease in the reentry was seen with shrimp 400 mg (p<0.01) when compared to AlCl3 group (Fig. 2c).

Locomotor activity

There is a significant reduction in the locomotor effect of AlCl3-treated group of animals (p<0.01) when compared with control animals. The rivastigmine as a standard drug shows a significant reduction (p<0.05) in locomotor effect to normal when compared to AlCl3 group. The treatment groups were also found to increase the locomotor activity to normal by treating with shrimp 200 mg (p<0.05) and shrimp 400 mg (p<0.01) when compared with AlCl3 group (Fig. 3).

Biochemical analysis


AlCl3 administration has significantly increased (p<0.01) the level of AChE when compared with control animals. The rivastigmine as a standard drug has significantly decreased (p<0.01) the AChE levels to normal when compared with AlCl3 group animals. The treatment group shrimp 200 mg exhibited increase (p<0.05) and shrimp 400 mg exhibited an increase (p<0.01) in AChE activity to normal when compared to AlCl3 group (Table 1).

Estimation of lipid peroxidation

A significant increase (p<0.01) in the MDA levels was seen in the AlCl3 administered group when compared with normal control group. The rivastigmine administered group exhibited decrease in the MDA level

Fig. 1: Effect of Indian shrimp on AlCl3-induced Alzheimer’s

disease in rats using Morris water maze test Fig. 2: (a-c) Effect of Indian shrimp on AlCldisease in rats using radial maze3-induced Alzheimer’s




(p<0.01). The treatment groups shrimp 100 and 200 mg exhibited a significant decrease in MDA levels p<0.05 and p<0.01, respectively, to normal and attenuate the lipid peroxides produced by AlCl3 group.

Estimation of antioxidant activity

Oral administration of AlCl3 induced a significant decrease in the antioxidant effect as evidenced by decreased levels of reduced GSH (p<0.01), CAT, and SOD when compared with control animals. The rivastigmine produced a significant increase (p<0.01) in the antioxidant levels to normal. The treatment groups shrimp 200 mg (p<0.05) and shrimp 400 mg (p<0.01) increased the antioxidant level to normal as compared to the AlCl3 groups which are shown in Table 1.


Histological examination of the brain section of control group was found to be intact. AlCl3 group produced alterations in the histoarchitecture and cellular deterioration in the hippocampus region of brain. The rivastigmine-treated group shows improvement in the cellular damages as compared to the AlCl3 group. The treatment groups shrimp 200 mg and shrimp 400 mg show notable improvements which are shown in Fig. 4.


The results of the study summarize that the chronic influx of aluminum chloride orally induced deterioration of memory

progressively, locomotor impairment, and the biochemical changes as resembles AD in human [22]. Even after extensive study, the exact pathological mechanism of AD was not clear, and it was assumed that the oxidative stress was found to exhibit a major role in the pathogenesis of AD. The in vitro and in vivo methods of neurodegenerative diseases were interpreted and found to be associated with the increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) and NO liberation and oxidative damage [23,24]. Thus, we reproduced the model for the evaluation neuroprotective effect of the Indian shrimp against AD.

Seafoods may help fend off Alzheimer’s-related dementia and other brain-related disorders [25]. In this present study, the behavioral and memory impairment caused by administration of aluminum and possible neuroprotective effect of the Indian shrimp were investigated using Morris water maze test, radial maze test, and actophotometer. In Morris water maze, aluminum administration was associated with decreased spatial memory that was indicated by increased escape latency time as compared to control [23]. The rivastigmine and the Indian shrimp treatments were counteracted the memory loss induced by the AlCl3.

Radial arm maze test was carried out to assess the working and reference memory errors. Hippocampus is responsible for memory and neuroprotection; the given drug will retain the memory [26]. The control group animals were found to be normal and the AlCl3 administered group of animals was found to be abnormal with restriction in the movements due to stress, anxiety, and lost their memory. The reference and working memory error were increased in the AlCl3 group when compared to the control animals. The shrimp-treated group exhibited significant improvement in the working and reference memory as compared to AlCl3 group.

Assessment of locomotor activity was to check the CNS stimulation or depressant in rats [21], the AlCl3 group decreased the locomotor activity when compared with control animals which indicates that the chronic administration of aluminum will depress the CNS and it was reversed by the shrimp-treated group.

Memory deficit in AD is due to impaired cholinergic transmission as one of the factors responsible. AChE is an enzyme responsible for the hydrolyzing acetylcholine that breaks into acetyl-CoA and choline, which declines the availability of Ach [27]. Rivastigmine is an AChE inhibitor approved by the FDA for the treatment of AD and it is the standard drug which we used in this study. AlCl3 group has showed a marked decrease in AChE activity when compared with the control animals group and the treatment with shrimp exhibited significant increase in the AChE activity to normal as that of rivastigmine which is responsible for the improvement of the behavioral parameters. Fig. 3: Effect of Indian shrimp on AlCl3-induced Alzheimer’s disease in rats using locomotor activity

Fig. 4: Histopathological examination of the hippocampus of the rat brain (a) normal brain of control group (b) AlCl3-induced

lesions on the hippocampus (c) AlCl3 + Rivastigmine as standard

drug treatment (d) AlCl3 + Shrimp 100 mg treatment group

(e) AlCl3 + Shrimp 200 mg treatment group which ameliorates the

AlCl3-induced lesions on the hippocampus

a b c


The role of free radical in the neurodegenerations and cognitive decline has been studied previously and findings emphasis the ROS role in the brain and found to improve the neuronal function. Hence, oxidative stress was considered as one of the main causes for cognitive impairment. Apart from chronic stress, it also promotes oxidative stress and disturbs antioxidant defense mechanism of brain. In the present research investigation, chronic administration of aluminum has induced oxidative stress and damages as indicated in increased lipid peroxidation (MDA) and depletion of antioxidant enzymes such as SOD, CAT, and GSH and thereby confirms the oxidative theory of cognitive deficits and its implications. However, administration of shrimp potentiated the protective effect by decreasing the MDA a marker of lipid peroxidation and restores the CAT, SOD, and GSH as compared to the AlCl3 group. From the results, it is evident that the hypothesis of memory deficits occurred after chronic aluminum administration was due to the mitochondrial dysfunction which is claimed to be the key factor for ROS production and ultimately inducing oxidative injury to the neurons [28].

In the histopathology, the control group animal does not have any lesions in the hippocampus and the chronic aluminum has crossed the brain and produced lesions, and the shrimp coadministration prevented the neuronal degenerations by increasing the antioxidant profile and served as a neuroprotective agent. Indian shrimp at high concentration (400 mg/kg, p.o) reversed the behavioral, biochemical, and histopathological impairments caused by chronic aluminum administration in addition enhanced cholinergic activation might evidence the neuroprotective effect of the shrimp.


From the research work carried out, it can be concluded that aluminum plays an important role causing cognitive dysfunction and oxidative stress, thereby inducing AD. The Indian shrimp powder (400 mg/kg) has a very good neuroprotective effect and can protect against AlCl3 -induced oxidative stress and cognitive dysfunction in rats. The potency of action was also good compared to the standard drug rivastigmine in AlCl3-induced AD in rats. Further studies on this are required to explore the mechanism of action for the claimed activities on using the shrimp.


The authors are thankful to the management of GIET School of Pharmacy, East Godavari district, Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, India, for providing the necessary research facility and support.


All the authors of this research work equally contributed at different levels such as in the planning of research and execution of work, its outcome, manuscript preparation, and research related to the animal studies.


The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Fig. 1: Effect of Indian shrimp on AlCl3-induced Alzheimer’s disease in rats using Morris water maze test
Fig. 1: Effect of Indian shrimp on AlCl3-induced Alzheimer’s disease in rats using Morris water maze test p.3
Fig. 2: (a-c) Effect of Indian shrimp on AlCl3-induced Alzheimer’s disease in rats using radial maze
Fig. 2: (a-c) Effect of Indian shrimp on AlCl3-induced Alzheimer’s disease in rats using radial maze p.3
Fig. 3: Effect of Indian shrimp on AlCl3-induced Alzheimer’s disease in rats using locomotor activity
Fig. 3: Effect of Indian shrimp on AlCl3-induced Alzheimer’s disease in rats using locomotor activity p.4
Fig. 4: Histopathological examination of the hippocampus of the
Fig. 4: Histopathological examination of the hippocampus of the p.4